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Sailing with Charlie: Global Warming

Graphics by Anouk Sylvestre

Climate Change has been in the news lately. There is no doubt that climate change and global warming are fact. But there seems to be some confusion as to whether it’s man-made or a natural
Phenomenon – or, more likely, a bit of both.

Another irrefutable fact is that sea levels are rising. This is having dire consequences for small island nations like the atoll countries and territories in the Pacific. Tuvalu, a small island nation in the Pacific is in constant danger of being submerged by rising sea levels. Kiribati, another atoll country, has similar concerns, as does the neighboring Marshall Islands. What to do? Perhaps it’s time to build another Old Testament style ark.

In those days of yore there were apparently about 17 million species of animals on the planet so if they had all boarded that enormous craft, as we are led to believe – two by two – it would have housed 34 million animals. Wow! A replica would have plenty of room for all the Micronesians, Melanesians and Polynesians out there – although there might be a line for the toilet.

Global warming is responsible for rising sea temperatures too – and rising temperatures help to spawn dangerous hurricanes, not to mention having adverse effects on underwater life like coral bleaching and subsequent destruction of reefs: habitats for many important fish populations that feed species right up the food chain.

Hurricanes are the major meteorological threat to Caribbean islands. Hot, wet weather moves westward off tropical Africa and as it continues along its westward path sea and wind conditions accelerate tropical systems into mighty and destructive revolving storms. Some expert in the Met Office several decades ago (1953) decided to name the storms to more easily identify them (good idea) – and they were to be female names (bad idea). There was a stormy debate on the issue but it wasn’t until 1978 that the protocol changed to bipartisan names, both men and women.

Some fanciful sailors tend to associate the characteristics of a storm based on its name, others are more realistic. This year Charlie has been looking into his crystal ball … Hurricane Donald is expected to produce unusual effects. “It will become very intense,” explains Charlie. “Then it will reverse direction, against all expectations. It will be so erratic that it will confound all Met Office employees, who will then be systematically fired. Eventually it will make landfall in the US and cause catastrophic damage to the Washington DC area, wiping out everything achieved in the last eight years. Death and destruction will be ‘huge’. Health providers won’t help. Thousands will be turned away – to die – with no health plan.”

Some weeks later, after careful evaluation, blame will be allocated …

“It was the Russians wot did it …”

 

 

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